There are two main types of pregnancy tests: urine and blood tests. Urine tests are typically done at home — though you can have a urine test done at your healthcare provider’s office — while blood tests are done by your healthcare provider.

At-home pregnancy test

An at-home test detects hCG in your urine, with about 99% effectiveness when used as instructed. Conducting a urine test at home is just as efficient as taking one at a healthcare provider´s office. The tests are available over the counter in most pharmacies or grocery stores. Most tests show the result within a few minutes. Please be sure to read the instructions beforehand.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you take a home pregnancy test, including:

  • Use your first-morning urine when possible. This is the time of day when your hCG levels will be the most concentrated and easily detected. If you do it at another time of day, try and make sure your urine has been in your bladder for at least four hours.
  • Not drinking excessive amounts of fluids before you take a pregnancy test. Many people think this will increase the volume of urine, but it can also dilute (thin out) your hCG levels.
  • Reading the directions that come with the test thoroughly before starting the test, and following every step precisely.

Blood test

Another type of pregnancy test that can be used is a blood test. Blood tests are rarely done because they’re expensive and tend to have the same result as a urine test. This type of pregnancy test is done using a small sample of blood that’s analyzed at a hospital or healthcare provider’s office. This blood test not only detects whether the pregnancy hormone is in your body but can also determine how much hormone is present.

These blood tests are slightly more sensitive than urine tests because they can detect very small levels of hCG. That means they can provide a more accurate answer very early on in pregnancy — within nine to 12 days after conception. For this test, your blood sample is taken and sent to a lab for analysis. Results might take anywhere from a few hours to more than a day. Your provider might also choose to use a blood test to compare hCG levels during the pregnancy. Your hCG levels usually double about every two days during the first few weeks of pregnancy. If the levels don’t rise, it might suggest a problem with the pregnancy.

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